Team Imamiya is born.
I absolutely love how the beacons of flame are depicting Moon Kagari subconsciously guiding Kotarou towards the correct case-by-case decisions he needs to make. I was really worried about how they’d do it, and I think this makes a lot of sense. Later on in the route, it’s going to become very apparent that there exist an immeasurable number of alternative timelines that the planet could potentially branch off into should Kotarou make the wrong decision, and that only highlights just how difficult it is to arrive at the true end that Terra is all about reaching. In the VN, the player is left with no choice but to select the correct option, as all the other choices are dimmed out and the only one available is lit up with two beacons.
It’s the product of all the effort put in by Moon Kagari, and even as early into Terra as we are, it’s having significant effects. It was painfully obvious that the ‘informal chat’ he had with Kashima Sakura was in fact a disguised Gaia recruitment interview, possibly prompted by her having heard about Kotarou’s potential from his parents having complained about him all the time. She posed the same pivotal, ‘key’ question (as I called it during my reviews of the game) to Kotarou that Akane did in the common route. If he was unsatisfied with the world, as she probably knew he was, would he choose to change himself or change the world around him? I’m not sure whether he would have immediately been recruited into Gaia if he had answered the latter, but it would have meant Kashima Sakura taking an interest in him that Kotarou absolutely cannot afford to have at the moment, possibly to the extent that he’d end up looking like that edgy Gaian summoner version of him that now appears in the OP. Likewise, if he’d answered with the former, it would close all potential routes into Gaia for him, which would make any infiltration attempts into the organisation impossible. A noncommittal answer was by far the best.
As I said last week, it’s rather ironic that Kotarou’s initial venture into this whole conflict is through Guardian, because in the end his mindset and ideological outlook is fundamentally Gaian. It’s not extreme Gaian, but if you placed Guardian and Gaia on either ends of a spectrum, Kotarou would fall moderately within the side of the latter. He’s never been as radical, or disillusioned, as to be willing to destroy humanity for the sake of the planet, and even in Akane’s route he joins Gaia because of her, and not because of its ideals. Guardian seem to adopt the stance that, so long as someone was a superhuman, they would belong with Guardian. Which in turn gives rise to anomalies like Nagai (or Tsukuno) who is much like Kotarou in that despite being a superhuman her way of thinking is Gaian. She’s another person who definitely remembers Kotarou from ten years ago and yet never reveals in the common route or any of the character routes that they once knew each other. Maybe there were slight hints in Akane’s route, I’m not sure. I’ve also always wondered what happened to his parents. In the common route, Kotarou mentions that his parents are never around because they’re environmental scientists and are always doing work for Martel away from home. During and after the coma, Guardian must have put Kotarou back with his parents after wiping his memories, right? They must have been creeped out more than anything after realising that their fully-grown son stopped ageing for ten years.
Kotarou’s relationship with Esaka has always been one of my favourite parts of Terra. Their friendship also exists to an extent in all of the other routes, but it’s just not the same. I can’t remember whether it’s ever explicitly revealed why Esaka took such an interest in Kotarou, but it was implied it’s at least something to do with his combat instincts and practicality in real battle. It was most definitely not anything to do with his superhuman ability to control his blood in itself, which is actually relatively weak as far as superhuman abilities go. That ability, of course, later becomes the control of aurora in the common and character routes after Kotori fixes up his body with a piece of Kagari. Speaking of which, I’m glad there was a clear distinction drawn between his blood control and his ability to rewrite himself. Those are very different. The latter is a little like a superhuman ability in practice, but it would be wrong to classify it as one because of the irreversible effects it has on him. He turns into a tree (a familiar of the planet to be more precise) in the event of its overuse, and those sorts of downsides aren’t characteristic of superhuman abilities at all. It was also bestowed on him, like it was on Sakuya before him, because of his status as Kagari’s designated Rewriter. His two powers just happened to coincide.
Finally, can I just say that the Terra versions of so many of the girls are just perfect (although an exception is Akane). Nishikujou in particular was stunning. As I’ve said many times before, one of my few major complaints with Rewrite is that it has no Nishikujou route. I’m sure one can exist in theory, given how many alternative timelines and versions of Kotarou there are, but her character has never been expanded upon too much and I think that’s a real waste. Oh, but she’s not as perfect as Kotori. Kotori is the cutest, the softest and the best, and I want to protect her smile the most.